Mission & History

Our Mission

To strengthen the bookselling community through charitable programs that support employees and their families.

Our History

For nearly 20 years, the Foundation has helped thousands of booksellers across the country overcome personal financial hardships.

It began in 1996 when employees and executives of Borders Group, Inc. had a vision: to start a nonprofit foundation with the purpose of helping bookstore employees in need. Their wish was to have an ongoing method for booksellers to help each other. From its beginning, as the Borders Group Foundation, funding was provided by company executives, individual employee payroll contributions, and donations from publishers and vendors. In 2011 following the liquidation of Borders, the organization was renamed the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation. At this time the scope of the Foundation was expanded to assist any employee of a brick-and-mortar bookstore within the U.S.

The Binc Foundation provides emergency financial assistance to booksellers in times of natural disaster, as in the cases of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the 2013 flooding in Colorado, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The majority of assistance requests, however, are of a much more individual nature. Whether the need arises from a serious medical expense, domestic violence incident, threat of eviction, essential utility shut-off, or the unexpected loss of household income; Binc works with each bookseller to help get them through the current emergency and return their household to a state of financial equilibrium.

Clarey RuddBinc Foundation assistance to California bookstore owner Clarey Rudd helped to erase more than $100,000 in medical bills and keep his bookstores open. This not only helped Clarey personally, but ensured that 16 employees’ jobs were saved.

In 2002 the Foundation added a scholarship program for bookstore owners, employees and their dependents. Higher Education Scholarships encourage booksellers and their dependents to reach for their dreams through post-secondary education. To date, nearly 600 students have continued their education with over $1.5M in awards. Professional Development Scholarships were added in 2013 and have been awarded to 30 bookstore owners and employees. These scholarships allow booksellers to attend the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute, Children’s Institute and the regional independent bookselling conferences to gain the knowledge and tools to help strengthen their businesses.

Val and Melise (1)Scholarship winners from Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, SC. Valerie Welbourn won a Winter Institute scholarship and her daughter Melise was a higher education scholarship winner.

Through the years the Foundation has served as a safety net for booksellers facing unexpected personal financial hardships, and today 80% of all assistance grants are awarded to employees of independent bookstores. From the first assistance grant of $323 given to a single mother struggling to pay her bills, the level of assistance has steadily grown, with the average grant today exceeding $1,500. Since inception, more than 2,800 booksellers have been assisted with $3.6M in short term financial support.

Today, the Binc Foundation is a well-respected charitable organization, enjoying wide support across the book industry. The Foundation has earned a silver seal from GuideStar and the top rated designation from Great Nonprofits. Binc is proud to partner with the American Booksellers Association, the country’s regional independent bookselling associations, publishers, distributors, bookstores, booksellers and bookstore customers to ensure a relevant, strong and sustainable Foundation.

Sponsor Sign (1)Ingram and Workman have been generous sponsors of past Binc Foundation fundraising events.

To continue this tradition of strengthening the book industry, the Binc Foundation needs the support of the entire book selling industry, including you. Please consider volunteering and or contributing today.

Heartland HFF auctionA Silent Auction to benefit Binc is a highlight of the annual Heartland Fall Forum, jointly hosted by the Great Lakes and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Associations.